Random Acts of Kindness is one of the Top 5 Happiness Habits that will boost your overall well-being and happiness levels.
From little on, we are taught kindness matters. But we weren’t always taught that you, as the giver of kindness, receive even more of a happiness boost than the recipient of the kindness.
As most of you know, I take a morning run. Not too long ago, during one of the 95-degree weeks in Southern Indiana, I noticed two men working each day placing a metal roof on a building.
I would see them at 6:00 in the morning, and then when I drove by around 8:00 p.m., they would still be working away on the roof.
They were covered in black soot from taking off the old roof and drenched in sweat. They were up there for hours and hours hammering away, sweating, and laboring.
I was so impressed with their work ethic and resilience in the heat.
I have to admit that I also felt guilty for how hard they were working for their paycheck. I know some people love physical labor, but I couldn’t help but think about the back-breaking work they were doing on a daily basis.
And I know enough about some of these small outfits in my small hometown to also know they work for low hourly rates.
My dad was a laborer. He painted houses, and in the summer, that meant being outside in the scorching heat pulling 12 - 14 hour workdays. I know how hard he worked for his family and his paycheck.
In hindsight, I now know this was one of the reasons back in the day; he pushed so hard for his children to get college degrees. It’s easier to work with your brain than your body.
After seeing these strong men on the third day, I was reminded of the importance of Random Acts of Kindness. I decided to go to the convenience store, bought two - 40 oz fountain drinks and two Gatorades, and drove back by to drop them off.
It just so happened that when I drove back by, they were stepping off their ladders to get more supplies.
I stopped my car and said, “I have been watching you both work so hard all week in this heat. I’m so impressed with your work ethic. I just want you to know I value how hard you are working.”
I wanted them to know that I “see” them and “value” them.
I truly wish I had been able to snap a picture of their faces. They went from shock to giant smiles.
Their faces were full of appreciation, and you would have thought I had just handed them $1000.00.
It was as if no one had done anything nice for them in ages. They immediately started gulping down the drinks and probably thanked me three times before I got back in my car.
I left with tears in my eyes, thinking about how many people feel “unseen” in their work.
Some of you reading this might not feel “seen” or “valued.” It might be unintentional.
And, I know everyone is bogged down with so much on their working plates, but when we can pause and simply let someone know we “see” them, it makes a meaningful difference.
Now, I’m not sharing this with you so you can give me accolades or tell me what a good person I am.
That’s not the reason for this email.
Plus, I’ve probably already done ten things wrong that week, but this was something I did right.
The reason for this email is that I think we should all start looking for opportunities to make people feel seen, validated, and appreciated.
From thanking the Walmart clerk who checked you out to a simple smile at someone, these little Random Acts of Kindness mean the world to others.
You get a boost in happiness each time you perform a random act of kindness.
Our brains become addicted to feeling good by making others feel good. And it causes a ripple effect: the person who received the kindness then thinks about doing something nice for someone else.
This exercise asks you to perform acts of kindness to cultivate feelings of kindness and happiness in yourself so that you can extend kindness to your local community and the world.
HOW TO DO IT
Choose a day this week and perform five acts of kindness (or choose to do one a day for 5 days in a row). It doesn’t matter if the acts are big or small, but research shows it is more powerful if you perform a variety of acts.
You can choose different people to perform the acts to. Examples include sending a nice email or a text praising someone, thanking the Walmart cashier, buying a stranger’s coffee, helping a friend with a chore, donating blood, leaving a treat for the mailman, or giving $5 to a homeless person.
Take the time to let someone know you appreciate, value, and "see" them.
I'd love to hear if you performed an act of kindness. Your kindnesses will lift me up, and I can't wait to see the examples you send me!